TEMPE -- Turnovers have plagued the Arizona State Sun Devils all season long, and that was the case again Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena.
But a new factor also reared its ugly head in ASU's Pac-12 home opener -- fatigue.
The two together were far too much to overcome as Arizona State dropped a 67-58 decision to Oregon in front of 5,609 fans and a national television audience.
The Devils trailed by just one after Carrick Felix hit a three-pointer with 9:47 left in the game, but from that point forward, ASU would commit six turnovers while getting outscored 14-4.
In all, ASU turned the ball over 16 times, leading to 21 Oregon points. The Ducks turned the ball over only 8 times in the game, which turned into only 2 Sun Devil points.
"Our 16 turnovers are amplified by the fact that we're not forcing a lot," ASU head coach Herb Sendek said. "So the differential is the margin of difference for us, and that's no different than it has been for the majority of the season."
ASU came into the game ranked dead last in the conference in assist-to- turnover ratio in the Pac-12, and had 15 assists against their 16 turnovers on Thursday. It was the 14th time in 16 games that Sendek's squad has had a negative ratio.
Add onto that the fact that ASU is playing shorthanded, and this outcome was somewhat predictable. Leading scorer Keala King was kicked off the team earlier this week, so that kept junior Trent Lockett on the floor for the entire 40 minutes. Lockett was one of four ASU starters to play 31 or more minutes in the game, but led all scorers with 23 points.
"There were key spots in possessions in the second half on both ends of the floor where we let fatigue get the best of us," Sendek said.
Chris Colvin, who was reinstated for this game following a 2-game suspension (his 2nd suspension this season) barely got any playing time.
"I would like to be able to play [Colvin] more, but he gave up a three and he turned it over and didn't seem at all comfortable yet or ready to play," the ASU coach said.
Sendek also acknowledged that this could be a continuing problem for his team all year -- lack of depth.
"We're not going to be able to call up anybody up from the D-League," he said. "This is who we have right now and so we're going to have to do a good job with our conditioning, our recovery and our mental toughness"
The Devils (5-11, 1-3) will test all three of those necessary ingredients Saturday night when they host the Oregon State Beavers at Wells Fargo.
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